The Tree of Life

Mother Earth – Caitlin Connolly | A Mother Here Art and Poetry Contest

When Jesus was sorrowful,
and very heavy,
He cried, Mommy.
She came unto Him
from heaven,
strengthening Him.

Even after they parted,
She tarried with Him,
and watched;
His friends could not
stay awake one hour.

When Jesus was on the cross,
His Father might have been
in the farthest reaches of heaven,
for sorrow, and solace.

His Mother might have been
right there, the Tree of Life,
branches holding Him–
a weeping willow.

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Coming Up for Air

pearlsComing Up for Air

I.
My little sister may not win her battle with cancer.
She says God asked her, Will you take a bullet for
your son? To her it means, Will you give your child
a life of strength, wisdom born of losing his mother?

When she speaks I hear the surf begin to roar.
The tide inside threatens to push me over.

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Guest Post: The Rituals We (Still) Perform

by Liz Johnson

My grandmother is dying.

Her cancer is incurable, and has spread to the degree that she has been given mere months to live. And so, with her mortal time rapidly closing, family and friends alike have flocked to her side to spend a few precious moments with a truly remarkable woman.

There could be no better tribute to a life well-lived than the outpouring of love that my grandmother has received in these past few weeks. Family members have flown across the country to sit by her side. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing with people calling to check in on her and to express their love. Almost every flat surface in her home has a vase of fresh flowers sitting on it, and her freezer is stocked to the gills with soup and other food brought to her by friends and ward members. Her door is being graced several times daily by friends and neighbors, wishing to express their love to her and to hug her at least one more time.

I realize that it’s not an unusual thing for a person to lose a grandparent – it’s the natural cycle of things. I have lost two before her. But yet the impending loss of this woman has affected me so profoundly.

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Guest Post: Managing Life’s Winters

Amish in Winter by Evan Tye PetersonGuest Post by Shelli

It was 16 years ago. The 21st of December was a typical New England winter day with snow and ice already making their regular appearance, and I was writing a talk. However, this was not an ordinary talk I was preparing. Not a neatly packaged sacrament sermon or a personal testimony. Rather, through a torrent of tears and profound sorrow, I was summoning God for hope and peace through words, as we buried one of our beloved young women. Not only was it winter, but it was truly a season of death and sadness that came with a jolting chill to my soul, and to the souls of all who loved Oeun.

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Relief Society Lesson Intro: The Life and Ministry of Joseph Fielding Smith

260-Joseph F Smith coverThis section, “The Life and Ministry of Joseph Fielding Smith,” isn’t technically a lesson, but I think it provides helpful background and can prepare the class for the upcoming year of lessons and may be taught as a first Sunday lesson by the Relief Society presidency. The Historical Summary of President Smith’s life can be found here and is also helpful in giving us some background of his life.

Because this lesson gives an overview of President Smith’s life, there’s not a lot of need for innovation. Consider having various members of the class retell the stories in this section. Examine the chapters covered this year–Are President Smith’s messages different than the other prophets we’ve covered? If so, how? (The section in this chapter, “President of the Church” also indicates topics that were favorites of his to speak on.)

In these lessons, The Exponent blog works to bring out women’s voices and influence. Some points to note in this chapter:

  • President Smith’s mother, Julina Lambson Smith, was the second wife of Joseph Fielding Smith. She worked to support her children as a midwife. She delivered nearly 1000 babies in her career without ever having a mother or infant die in childbirth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Fielding_Smith).
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